CDC moves 8 nations to its highest travel risk level — including Spain, Monaco and Finland

Dec 21, 2021

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Spain joined America’s growing list of no-go nations today, as omicron continues to bulldoze festive plans across the world.

The holiday hotspot was among eight new destinations deemed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “Level 4: COVID-19 Very High”, bringing the number of nations on their “avoid” list to 88.

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The other seven were the tropical Caribbean isle of Bonaire and billionaire’s playground Monaco, as well as Chad, Lebanon, Gibraltar, San Marino and Finland.

“Level 4: COVID-19 Very High” is the health watchdog’s highest-risk COVID-19 category, where more than 500 new cases per 100,000 people are recorded in the last 28 days. It already includes most of the rest of Europe.

But adding Spain to the list will be a special blow to many American Europhiles — last year, Spain welcomed more international visitors than almost every other nation in the world, bar France, according to the UN’s World Tourism Organization.

The update was also a gut punch to luxe-travelers planning to rub shoulders with the world’s “yachterati” this winter, as wealth-mecca Monaco was also added to the list.

Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

While most of the newly-upgraded nations had come from Level 3, Monaco, Gibraltar and San Marino, in fact, had previously sat in the “unknown” risk category. Destinations are put there when there is a lack of reliable information coming from them to the CDC.

The world is bracing itself for another COVID-19 Christmas this year, as nations from all corners begin again to tighten restrictions on public life amid surging Omicron cases.

One of the worst-hit continents is Europe, where more than 40 nations are on the CDC’s Level 4 list.

Among the most popular holiday destinations are France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Italy and Greece.

Other popular holiday destinations in the no-go division are Belize, Singapore, Turkey and South Africa.

As for Level 3 (“Make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel”), just two new countries joined today. Peru was upgraded from Level 3 while there was a glimmer of good news for St. Vincent and the Grenadines where COVID-19 cases have been steadily declining since October. The Caribbean chain of islands received the rare accolade of a downgrade from Level 4.

In its broader travel guidance, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

Featured image by David Navarro Azurmendi/Getty Images

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